Closing Circle Idea: Good-bye Cadence

File 1600The end of the school day can be a hectic time in the classroom. With children heading out in different directions, it's common for teachers to feel overwhelmed and frustrated as the end of the day draws near.

A Closing Circle can help bring closure to the day in a positive, structured way. It doesn't take long—students gather for five or ten minutes to do a brief activity or two and then go on to dismissal—but it can have a big impact on students' learning and behavior, and on the classroom climate.

Wrapping up the day this way benefits the teacher, too. A hectic dismissal leaves teachers feeling exhausted, even if the majority of the day went smoothly. After using Closing Circles, many teachers report more positive energy and attitudes not only in their students, but in themselves as well. It's a small investment of time that makes a big difference.

For more information about Closing Circle including what to do and some keys for success, check out Closing Circles: 50 Activities for Ending the Day in a Positive Way, the new book I co-authored with Kristen Vincent.

Here's one K–6 Closing Circle activity idea to get you started:

Good-bye Cadence

Send students off on a high note with this rousing call-and-response chant.         

Lyrics to this group activity:

Leader: I don’t know but I’ve been told
Group: I don’t know but I’ve been told

Leader: This school day is about to fold
Group: This school day is about to fold

Leader: We worked and played our best all day
Group: We worked and played our best all day

Leader: But now it's time for us to say
Group: But now it’s time for us to say

Leader: Sound off
Group: Good-bye

Leader: Sound off
Group: School friends

Leader: Bring it on down now (whisper the rest of the chant)
Group: Good-bye, school friends

All: Bye, bye!

    Tip for Success:
    ♦ Post the words of the chant so students can refer to them if needed.

    Skills: keeping rhythm, reading

    ♦ Instead of "school friends" insert any two syllable name for the group, such as "first grade," "classmates," or "readers." Or ask your students for suggestions!

    File 1600Kristen Vincent will be sharing another idea from the book, Closing Circles: 50 Activities for Ending the Day in a Positive Way, here on the Responsive blog soon. Stay tuned!

    To celebrate the arrival of Closing Circles, we're giving away 5 copies of the book this month! To enter, just leave a comment on this post. We'll pick the winners on August 24.

    Congratulations to the winners of the Closing Circles book giveaway: Donna Madden; Ellen Hoitsma; Michelle Connolly; Jeana Occhialini, and Elizabeth Obester.

    Thanks to everyone who entered—we loved reading all of your comments!

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    "Closing Circle Idea: Maître d'"

    Congratulations on your book! Can't wait to read it and refer it to other teacher friends!

    I'm excited to incorporate closing circles into my end of day routine!!!!!

    Looking forward to great, organized ways to end our day together!

    Looks like a great idea!

    This would be awesome to have!

    Looks like a fabulous book!  Would love to win a copy

    Getting ready for dismissal is the most hectic part of my day. I am always trying to cram in "one more thing" and then running out of time.  I welcome any and all suggestions on how to organize the end of the day for a calm dismissal.

    I'm so excited to see a new book on Closing Circle!  I love everything about morning meeting and responsive classroom techniques, so I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on this new book!  Thanks for the opportunity to win it!

    Love this! Can't wait to read the book.

    I tried using closing circles during my practicum and would love this book to be able to implement them during my first year of classroom teaching next year. We put so much time into structuring our days so that our students get the most out of every opportunity, I think a closing circle would be a great way to end a day and get ready for tomorrow!

    Dismissal time is just as critical as arrival in the morning. It's important to end the day on the right foot, because we'll all be together again tomorrow, working toward the same goal.   

    As a new teacher this Fall, I've been looking for ways to build community into my classroom. I love the idea of sending the students off in an organized, thoughtful way each day. I will have to try this in my classroom!

    My goal is to plan a more purposeful Morning Meeting & Closing Circle. This book would be a great resource in reaching that goal.

    I'm excited to develop new ideas for the closing circle in my second grade classroom! The Good-bye Cadance is a fantastic idea and I'll try it out next week when the student return. Thanks for all of the great ideas!

    I would love to try closing circles. I love my morning meeting time. A closing circle would end the day on a calm note.

    I've always used closing circles, but with students leaving at different times and needing to teach up to the last second, it gets hard to do.  I'd love to read this--I am always looking for additional ideas for closing our day while learning and building community.

    I have been waiting for this book since earlier this summer! I can't wait to get a copy!
    The end of the school day is always so hectic for me. I've been teaching for 12 years and still can't find something that works. I want to schedule time at the end of the day to wind down, share accomplishments, and say goodbye. This book sounds like a good place to start!
    I really like this idea. I always have to remind myself to leave time at the end of the day for closure. This might help!

    Congratulatons on the new book. It sounds like a great way to finish the day.

    Can't wait to read this book! I have done closing circle for the past couple of years, but could use some new ideas.

    I always begin the year by having a daily closing circle. By the second week of school it falls from my schedule. I hope this book offers some helpful tips and ideas to help me get in a very short closing circle every day this coming year!

    Awesome book, hope to win one!

    I feel enlightened and empowered after completing Responsive Classroom II in New York City. What made RCII even more meaningful was having my RCI instructor for a second year as well as fellow colleagues from RCI! I believe Responsive Classroom will help me be a better facilitator of learning. I look forward to planning fun and engaging morning meetings and closing circles. Here's to a great school year 2012-2013!

    This looks wonderful.  Closing circles are always well intentioned in my room but too often I run out of time and am just thankful I can get my students out the door in time.  My goal for this year is to start doing this, I think it would be so powerful.

    I am so excited for this book to come out.  It is the one component of Responsive Classroom that I struggle with to vary it and keep it fresh.

    I love the idea of a closing circle. I'm a brand new teacher and would love to read the book.

    Closing the day is not my strongest teaching time of the day, so having some fresh new ideas would be great!  Great book idea that will be very helpful to classrooms around the world!

    What a great idea!  I am looking forward to reading this book and using the suggestions.

    I have been waiting for this book!  I start the year with a closing circle, but as the year goes it seems it is one of those things that gets pushed aside.  I would like to incorporate more songs, chants, and to end our day.  So, I am excited for ideas this book has to share.

    Very Excited about a new book from RC!  It will be nice to have new ways to regroup at the end of the day! Thank you!

    I want to end the day the way it begins: calm, but invigorating, reflective, but fun! After attending RC I, where our instructor mentioned this book would be coming out, I am so excited to get on board with more relevant, varied and well-planned closing circles. Can't wait to get my hands on a copy of this book to help me do that! :)

    I started doing Closing Circle about 2 years ago and it has made for such a calm end to the day.  I'd love some more ideas though on how to use this time right before dismissal!

    I don't have this book but I have been been disappointed with any of the Responsive Classroom books.  They all have ideas that I cant put to use in my classroom the next day.  This one would be helpful but I always feel drained and rushed at the end of the day.  Lisa

    I was fortunate enough to meet Kristen and learn from her at RCII a few weeks ago - she was incredibly helpful and engaging, and her passion for the concept of closing circles was well received.  I have purchased this book, and I look forward to using it to help me better my implementation of Closing Circle. Fortunately, my school has 20 minutes built into the day in the morning and the afternoon as "homeroom", so I have plenty of time to hold a solid Closing Circle with my 4th graders! 

    That is so great that your school builds in that time!  Our school just increased the school day in order to make more time for recess - I am so grateful for that.

    Sounds great! I'm always looking to use new, creative and motivating activities with my students.

    What a great way to end the day. I would love to incorporate this into my daily routine!

    I completed RC1 at the beginning of the summer and have been knee-deep in RC books since then! Really excited to bring Closing Circle into the classroom and have a less hectic dismissal!

    I love the idea of using a cadence to close the day. I have used cadences many times to motivate my students during test season or before field day, etc. I love the feeling of unity it created in mimicking a military unit. Closure is something I struggle with and its true a hectic dismissal even after a productive day can leave the teacher feeling something is missing. I would love to learn more ways to successfully end the school day that leave my students (and me) feeling better; a feeling of reflective, productive sense of ths is the end now we are ready for another day.

    I always have had my homework procedures at the end of the day, leading to a bit of chaos and running around.  This year I decided to switch, and have the kids write their homework down in the morning upon arriving.  I worried what the end of the day would look like: a read aloud? a closing discussion? This book will be a great insight for how to spend that time!

    This book will be a great resource to add more variety to my closing meeting!

    Congratulations on your new book!!  So awesome to end everyone's day on a high note!!  :)  Thanks!!

    Closing circles is a focus for me this year.  I have to make it a priority or it won't happen!  I LOVE the Good-Bye Cadence and so will my first graders!  Thanks for the wonderul idea! 

    That's how I made it happen in my classroom Camille. I told my students it was my hope and dream for the year to have a Closing Circle every day. You know they held me to it... even when we were late to the bus! :)

    The end of the day...another very hetic time.  Great idea to rally the troupes to end on a note of unity!  Looking forward to reading some new ideas!

    I have almost all of the Responsive Classroom books.  I love the Morning Meeting book and the First Six Weeks of School book and have recommended your books, newsletter, and website to my colleagues.  I would love to have the Closing Circle book!

    I have been teaching for 24 years and the end of the day has always been my least favorite part of school.  This book looks like it will be a great resource.


    A great idea for closing.  I am not teaching yet, but I am finishing my masters in elem. education and will be teaching in a progressive school next year.  A great book to start my RC library.


    I learned so much in 5 days at the RC training in South Berwick, Maine this summer....Can't wait to get my hands on this book!...and to get started on a wonderful new school year:)